“Terminator: Dark Fate”—A Rip-Roaring Return to the Franchise’s Heyday

Linda Hamilton returns as Sarah Connor in Terminator: Dark Fate. (photo by Kerry Brown, Paramount Pictures)

After you adjust to the new story angle in Terminator: Dark Fate—which echoes all other Terminator plots—you’re in for a rip-roaring action thriller worthy of the series. This time, a young, unknowing Mexican woman named Dani (Natalia Reyes) is being targeted by a vicious, relentless, shape-shifting robot assassin (Gabriel Luna) sent back from the future.

Her fierce protector is Grace (Mackenzie Davis), an “enhanced” but human female soldier from that same future. Helping Grace are two warriors from the present with very familiar faces: Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger). What most juices this movie is Hamilton—her face showing every one of her 65 years—as the grieving, embittered, beyond-bullshit Sarah Connors who can still kick ferocious butt. She literally and figuratively commands every scene she’s in and is a joy to watch. What a brilliant idea to bring Hamilton back—28 years after Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) and 35 years after the original Terminator (1984)—to reprise this iconic character!

Arnold returns in Terminator: Dark Fate. (Paramount Pictures)

Davis is also quite striking as Grace, a tall, lithe, passionate warrior, part Cyborg, with super-human fighting prowess and lightning reflexes. Compared to Sarah and Grace, Schwarzenegger’s “Carl,” on the other hand, seems tame and a tad portly. He’s a T-800 who, however unlikely, has grown a heart and a conscience while living incognito as a human (not that Sarah’s buying it). Although sporting greying hair and a beard, along with a laconic sense of humor, he can still hold his own fighting off the bad guy. It’s fun to see ol’ Arnold, but he doesn’t hold a candle to Linda!

Linda Hamilton in Terminator: Dark Fate (Paramount Pictures)

Reyes is a Columbian actress who has starred in several Spanish-language films. Davis you may recognize from Halt and Catch Fire, Blade Runner 2049, and Black Mirror. Hamilton has done a great deal of TV work in the years since Terminator and Terminator 2, including starring in the highly rated and memorable TV series Beauty and the Beast. James Cameron, who directed the first two Terminator movies, is the executive producer and co-writer on this film, which was directed by Tim Miller (known for Deadpool, released in 2016).

This is the sixth sequel to the original Terminator.